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The People of Sulawesi

The following is a list of Unreached People Groups on the island of Sulawesi (Celebes)



Who are the Tomini?

The Tomini live in Central Sulawesi province. Their districts stretch from the northeast to the south and form a half circle facing the Tomini Bay. The coastal area is made up of plains. They are narrower to the south, while the coastal regions remain flat, and the interior is mountainous. Many of the valleys in the interior have fertile, irrigated rice farms and the land is well cultivated. Other original inhabitants of this area are the Dampelas, the Balaesang and the Pikoro. The Tomini have … [Read more...]

Who are the Tolaki?

The Tolaki live in several districts in the southeast province of Sulawesi. They make up one of the largest people groups in Southeast Sulawesi. The Tolaki language is part of a language group called the Western Bungku-Tolaki subfamily. Tolaki is closely related to the Waru, Rahambuu and Kodeoha languages. Tolaki has two principal dialects, and several smaller dialects. What are their lives like? The Tolaki are known for being very independent and having a simple lifestyle. Besides farming, … [Read more...]

Who are the Buol?

The Buol live in Central Sulawesi near the Gorontalo province. Formerly mountain dwellers, the Buol now live in scattered villages on the central part of the northern peninsula. The Buol region’s history is one of the rise and fall of small kingdoms. At times, they became part of larger entities for defense and conquest. Sometimes, the Buol people are treated as a subgroup of the Gorontalo people group due to cultural and linguistic similarities. The Buol language is part of a larger language … [Read more...]

Who are the Bonerate?

The Bonerate live on the islands of Bonerate, Madu, Lalaotoa, Karompa and Selayar in the South Sulawesi Province. These islands are in the Selayar Regency. Bonerate Island is in a very remote area. The journey from the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar takes 2-3 days. The first part of the trip is a ferry ride to Benteng on Selayar Island, and the second part involves renting a fishing boat since there is no public transportation to Bonerate. Their primary language is the Bonerate language, … [Read more...]

Who are the Bungku?

The Bungku (also called “To Bungku”) live in the Central Sulawesi province. They are also found in several other areas of Sulawesi. The Bungku people are further divided into subgroups: Lambatu, Epe, Rete and Ro’Uta. They speak Bungku, which has six dialects. The Bungku language is part of a larger language group called the Eastern Bungku-Tolaki subfamily which also includes the Kulisusu, Wawonii, and Mori languages. The immigrant communities in this area use their own languages, such as Bugis, … [Read more...]

Who are the Bentong?

The Bentong people are known as “To Bentong.” They are located inland about 2 hours from Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi Province. According to the Bentong, they are the descendents of a marriage between the prince of Bone and the princess of Ternate. Other sources state that the Bentong are the descendents of Bugis and Makassar peoples. The latter is more likely since Bentong culture is influenced by elements of both the Bugis and Makassar cultures. Bentong are nomads and are … [Read more...]

Who are the Luwu?

The Luwu live in the province of South Sulawesi. They primarily live near the Kalaena River. A cave named Supang Bita is in the Pangkep regency. It is reputed to be the home of Luwu’s ancestors who lived over 5,000 years ago. On the wall of Sumpang Bita is an old drawing of the palm of a man’s hand, the sole of a man’s foot, a boat, a deer and a wild boar. It is thought that these elements show the former lifestyle of the Luwu people. The Luwu are historically considered one people group. The … [Read more...]

Who are the Lolak?

The Lolak are an agrarian people who have always lived on the fringes of more powerful neighboring groups. They live in the Lolak district in North Sulawesi province. Eighty percent of the Lolak population live in this area and are divided among three villages of Lolak, Mongkoinit and Motabang. The chief characteristic that distinguishes the Lolak from other native Mongondow groups is their language, which is structurally similar to Gorontalo. Despite this similarity, the Lolak language has … [Read more...]

Who are the Dampelas?

The Dampelas live in Central Sulawesi. Their area on the northwestern peninsula of Sulawesi is bounded by the straits of Makassar to the west. The word Dampelas originated from the words dampe and las. The word dampe means “seed” or “ancestry.” The word las is used as an abbreviation of the word Ihlas, which was the name of the first king who ruled in this area. Therefore, “Dampelas” means those who are descended from the line of King Ihlas. They believe that their forefathers were Tomanoru. … [Read more...]

Who are the Duri?

The Duri (also called Massenrempulu) live in a mountainous area with a cool climate in the middle of the South Sulawesi province. The Duri area consists of 17 villages. This area is close to a major road. Most Duri people live close to the main road, but several groups live in the high mountainous areas. Some Duri men have migrated to other areas. The Duri language has two dialects. The more prestigious dialect is spoken in a central area around the villages Cakke and Kalosi and the less … [Read more...]